The Kenyan Education System

Here we try to give an overview of the Kenyan school system and some acronyms, so you can sense where a child is in the scheme of things.

Children generally start school at about 3 years of age and join “Baby Class”.

After Baby Class they go through KG1 to KG3 (Kindergarten).

From KG3 they graduate to Class 1 (also known as Standard 1), the first year of Primary, and work through to Class 8. In Class 8 they take KCPE (Kenya Certificate of Primary Education).

After Class 8, children move to High School for Forms 1 to 4, culminating in KCSE (Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education).

After KCSE, students may move to college to study for a diploma or to university.

Moving through the classes / forms is based on achievement, so although the most able children will get through in 16 years (4 in KG, 8 in Primary, 4 in Secondary) or possibly less, others will take longer. Health and funding can also delay progress.

Although primary education in Kenya is technically free, the state primary schools are chronically underfunded with huge class sizes, and it’s only the tuition which is free (students still have to pay for books, materials, exam entry etc). Wherever possible, children are sent to private schools which provide a better education and may be closer to the child’s home.

School fees are very low by western standards, but are beyond the means of many families, and children require sponsorship to be able to proceed with their education.